Checking Out

Blog Post


It passed for looking cool forty years ago…white leisure suit and all—chick magnet.


Looking at the Menu in Nottingham, UK

(from Jules)

“Hey, look at that human out there. Do you think we could eat him?”

“Hmm, he looks a bit stringy. I prefer someone with a bit more marbling, you know?”

“Marbling? What are we, wolf food critics, now? Maybe we should wait for a plump jogger. They gotta be well-seasoned.”

“Good point. And let’s avoid the ones in spandex. Too much synthetic flavour.”

“Agreed. Oh, here comes someone with chicken legs! Think they marinate in hot sauce?”

“Or maybe Worcester sauce and mustard? Either way, it’s a feast in disguise!”



Part Two

Part One

A Sequential Fictional Short

There’s no way that intelligent life emerged on Hel 3.  Nothing the least bit interesting going on in the Hel System, which had been explored centuries before by spacefarers from Earth. The presence of the carving and writing that became the casus beli for the research station populated by generations of clones might be the exception. The omission of this in the archives is also curious.

We could remain at Hel 3 and try to make sense of the scratchings, or we could continue. The commanding officer interrogated Sola a few times, but she was birthed, received basic training on station systems, and was scheduled to be replaced when her time concluded. Nothing in the station records indicated what the writings meant, and Sola didn’t have the programmed skills to do much.

Ultimately, the commander decided to take Sola on board the Chang. She would share his cabin. We would quickly sweep the system in search of Fleet Fast Patrol Picket Uro Mawer and take steps to rejoin the fleet – albeit decades later because of light speed and time dilation.

More clones would be birthed and decanted, and the operation of Hel 3 would continue with a mystery unsolved in the books. If the pirates, whoever they were, returned to Hel 3, we could not do much to stop them unless we remained, which exceeded our remit.

Ship’s Log – Fleet Corvette Chang, Third Officer Farral Drum: With the reinsertion of the Fleet Crew, Marines, and the clone, Sola into hibernation, per protocol, I have remained awake until we clear the Hel System completely. Because computer time became available, I put it toward solving the language riddle that we encountered during our brief relief mission to the research station at Hel 3. A pattern emerged by way of warning that the magnetic distortion from the planetoid Hel 3 and the Hell Dwarf Star created genetic deviations within the explorers who arrived there maybe a million years before we did. They were flesh and blood, as are we, and over time, those who remained on Hel 3 developed a taste for their own.

Vampires? That’s what it sounded like, or perhaps cannibals. I wondered whether the Fleet Fast Patrol Picket Uro Mawer crew might have fallen victim to the clones, who successfully captured and drained the crew before spacing them. The theory sounded outlandish to me — clones against fleet — but stranger things have happened. Nearly a hundred Sol years ago, there was an incident involving a Xenomorph on the moon, Acheron, orbiting the planet Calpamos in the Zeta II Reticuli system. The moon was also referred to as LV-426.

It occurred to me that the lovely Sola, who the captain formed an attraction with and who was in a hibernation chamber next to, might have been affected by the same genetic morphing that could have happened to the other clones who formed the crew of Hel 3 Station. I activated a combat droid to investigate the captain’s cabin, and it found that Sola’s hibernation chamber had been opened from the inside. The captain’s chamber had been opened from the outside, and Sola had been feeding on him. The droid vaporized Sola, and sealed the cabin.

We all moved up by one: Second Officer Farral Drum, Fleet Corvette Chang, signature.


I had to…


Bullet Points:

** When you were young, and your heart was an open book, you used to say, “Live and let live.” ….You know you did.

It’s not over when you lose. It’s over when you quit.

** MAGA – I’ve been told that the left hates this photo of President Trump, so I’ll post it. The argument is that it makes him look too much like a Mogul… but since he is a magnate, why not look the part?

** The result of the Ordnance Department body armor test that demonstrated the effect of pistol, rifle, and machine-gun fire on heavy body armor. Photograph taken at Fort de la Peigney in Langres, France, in c. 1918. (below)


Identify the Aircraft


Not many made – Military Aircraft


Not an easy ID, at least not for me.


Easy, but cool


49 thoughts on “Checking Out

    1. Buddy of mine was a KC-135 driver before he aged out of the Air Farce but before he did, sent a pic looking down on one of those flying over Afghanistan, taken by the gas passer (whatever they call the refueling tech). Flying over that barren rock-scape, it looked like it could have been clipped from a “Star Wars” movie.

  1. I think you grabbed the wrong movie still LL. Thats from To have and have not and pretty sure that the outfit she dances out of the nightclub in at the end of the movie. Great flick.

          1. Klaus, the movie still (which I think is cool) and the YouTube of Key Largo weren’t intended to be literally connected. More of my free flow of consciousness when composing the blog.

            Ed, I like everything with Edward G. Robinson in it. He played such a dastardly bad guy. Of course, who could resist young Lauren Bacall?

          2. You can whistle, can’t you Steve?
            Robinson played a number of good guys too.
            Or both at the same time!
            I have not been able to find a movie that he was in that I saw when I was a boy called “A boy 10 ft tall”.

          3. They have played that on TCM in the past. Good movie. I really liked E.G.Robinson in Our vines have tender grapes. Sorry LL thats what i get for assuming.

        1. On number three, you can see the uniform through the holes and pieces have broken off along the edges. So doubtful on that one.

    1. You’d look fabulous in the white leisure suit. It’s the sort of suit you’d wear to a gaming establishment in Macao. In Asia, white is the color of death, not black.

      And yes.

      1. Factoid: In the original script (not the shooting script) and the book Alien, the moon Acheron, orbiting the planet Calpamos in the Zeta II Reticuli system, was mentioned by name. In the films, it was only LV426.

        1. I didn’t know ALIENS was in a book format. I would read that! I am enjoying your Sola short fiction series! I miss sorely good Sci Fi reading, all of the current stuff is crap and so woke and degenerate I have given up looking for new titles. I fervently pray you would expand that into a book series!

          1. I’m working on Hungry Ghosts at the moment, book two of four. Pivoting to a new book, even a stand-alone book at the moment, isn’t in the cards. However, I use the shorts as a testbed for larger concepts like books or even longer short stories. I could do a novelette on Sola. I have more material to pack into that one without the gratuitously slipping in references to Alien. I have to keep the shorts short for the blog. Though I exceed the goal in length at times, it has to be beginning, middle, end, and twist if I’m to keep to the discipline.

          2. Tom Kratman is always good for non-woke. The latest I’ve read is “The Romanov Rescue” with Kacey Ezell.

            I don’t know Charles Gannon’s politics, but his Terran Republic series is entertaining reading. (And I’m genuinely curious if he plotted out the entire multivolume arc all at once or if it grew in directions he did not originally intend.) Gannon also has two novels so far in “This Broken World” which comes across as D&D for adults with a brain. That may sound like a put down, but it’s meant to be praise.

            Check out John Hemry (“Jack Campbell”) for space navy stories. JAG in Space is four novels about a junior officer in a near-future US Space Navy. (It’s got good lessons about working in a team and in a formal hierarchy. Particularly about how as a junior officer with no experience, how do you interact with and manage enlisted with decades of experience. Sound familiar as a nurse viz recent med school grads? I wish my M3 and M4 med students, and interns, would have read it.) The Lost Fleet series is far future space opera for those who like fleet actions. Characterization is excellent in the JAG books, and not bad in The Lost Fleet series. Parts of TLF are vaguely reminiscent of the Honorverse fleet engagements, but without the 10-page info dumps in the later novels. (Weber is a victim of his success wherein apparently he is too big to edit. So we get a thousand words on the firmware (rev. gamma) of the gravitic launch system (Mark VIIa) from Hauptmann Industries (Grayson subsidiary, PTY) and how its performance differs from the same hardware with older firmware (rev. beta). In The Middle of a battle sequence. SIGH.)

            Linda Sherrer and John Ringo have two books out (so far) set in a near-ish future Iowa (for now) with an actually likeable teenaged-girl protagonist (not a Mary Sue) who’s a big time gamer who masquerades as a mysterious old guy named Larry who is some sort of high speed, low drag former operator who now spends his time kicking in-game ass and taking names. Hmmmm.

          3. Oh yeah, recent med school grads, brings back fond memories… First day on the rotation I had them meet in the small conference room with the MD instructor present and I was DI Emery… I told them in no uncertain terms this was my ward and my rules, you are not MDs or DOs, just lowly maggot doctors with a lower case “d.” You do not harass my nurses or my techs and especially my aides. If a nurse who has far more experience and skills than you suggests another course of action, you are to stop and find out the correct procedure and or dosages or ask your instructor or me. I had no problems instructing a low d doc and had no problem with a big D doc. I explained that I write a review of your performance, your attitude, your bedside manner and composure and how you work under pressure and time constraints. I will not make or break your career, but an evaluation that is negative from me will reflect upon you for some time because it is part of your permeant record. The instructor advisor loved it, it scared the crap out of them, injected some humility and to listen to your nurses, they are the ones that keep your patients alive when you screw up, and you will.

            I will check out those authors, I had given up hope of good sci fi reading, thank Mike_C

  2. What is that large dimple on the plane picture of the crew entering the plane? Looks like Russian crew members and f=ground crew. Saw them at Tempelhof Airport when a Soviet plane landed and we provided security and overwatch.

    1. Don’t let the guys over at Busted Knuckles know you were protecting a Soviet aircrew…we’re far more forgiving here.

      It’s just the open hatch that leads to the cabin.

      1. Well not so much as “protecting” them… I guess form follows function, Brit aircrews coping or emulating Soviet uniform wear. Russians weren’t so bad, especially after you got enough vodka and introduce them to rotgut Jim Beam.

        1. The Russian sense of humor is closer to the American than the British. As a rule. Jules has a very American sense of humor. Russians tend to brood. I have no idea why, but it seems to be a cultural imperative.

    2. The dimple is the crew hatch. Yes it looks weird; but, at least the plane isn’t ugly. That is a Brrrittish crew scrambling and hopefully is a publicity picture. Notice they are wearing their wheel caps while carrying helmets and flight bags. Other nations with an need to get planes off the ground in a hurry had all the gear in the plane ready to strap in, start engines and go.

      But, the Brits do march to a different drummer.

      1. Movie Quote: (Billy Fish) I oft times tell Ootah about Englishmens. How they give names to dogs and take off hats to womans, and march into battle, left – right, left -right with rifles on their shoulders.

  3. The only reason I would hate the photo is that jacket and those sunglasses look terrible on him!

    That armor photo is pretty impressive.

    You all be safe and God bless.

  4. Absolutely not to all attire mentioned. Good grief.
    Trump looks like he’s been Tango’d -
    I love his brazen attitude but money definitely does not buy taste.

    Great short. Of course.

    1. If that’s a full size couch those boys are good (Texas) sized…no need for an alarm system at Marmalade Cottage.

    2. While in college I saw one wall poster that I REALLY wish I had purchased now that I look back on it. It was a close-up of an emperor penguin. The wording underneath said “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no class.”

  5. Never had a white leisure suit, but my 3 year old kid and I had matching powder blue leisure suits that we wore to supper in key largo when we were stationed at Homestead AFB. About the time Bertie was popular and we thought we were plenty cool.
    Idaho Bob
    Ps..that was about 30 pounds ago

    1. I was an impecunious high school student when the men’s wear rental place in my home town finally closed its doors for good ☹️. All the nice proper tuxedos and so forth sold quickly, but there were racks and racks of leisure suits in garish neon colors, ruffled “disco hippy shirts” and of course powder-blue tuxedos. I bought a disco-hippy shirt for fun (pretty sure it’s in a closet still in my parents’ house 😳) but I sort of regret not having gotten a powder-blue tuxedo. Not to mention the mint green leisure suit. (Mint green is good for Italian bike aficionados, because it’s called “celeste” by the Bianchi bicycle company and is their signature color.)

        1. Anything that would have fit me during Senior Prom days would, today, require a 20 mule team to pull it off afterwards 🙂

  6. Not taking time to translate because we’re too busy doing important stuff – kinda reminds me of the cartoon with a king leaving his tent while saying “I have a battle to fight. I don’t have time to see some salesman.” Said salesman off to one side with a Ma Deuce ready for demonstration.

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